MEPS Experience

January 31, 2008 at 4:38 PM (Military, Navy, Recruitment) (, , , , , , , )

I went through MEPS on November 2007, in Brooklyn, NY to join the active duty Navy. I’m writing this for all the recruits who are thinking of joining the military. Here is my personal experience going through MEPS. This is going to be pretty long so grab a drink. First afternoon you will take your ASVAB test and the next day you do your medical, meet with the job counselor, and take your first oath. Bring a change of clothes and a set of workout clothes, might also want to bring a book. I wouldn’t recommend ipods or handheld game devices or anything expensive. You need to lock up your bag in a locker for most of the day, and there’s a risk of it getting stolen or damaged.

 My recruiter picked me up and we went to the recruiting station to fill out some paperwork for the security background check. I filled out forms detailing some people who knew me at my current address and high school. I was supposed to use people like teachers, bosses, colleagues, but I just went through my cell phone contacts and filled in a bunch of my friends (found out later I wasn’t supposed to but it’s okay). You need to put down their addresses too, so if you don’t know your friend’s addresses you need to call them and ask. They aren’t going to be solicited for recruitment or anything in case you are worried about that. You just need to put it down. I think you need 6-9 people for this purpose. Another part of the form is your job history for the last 7 years. I didn’t know the addresses of my workplaces but my recruiter looked it up for me on the internet. Just need the store address, phone number, and the name of your bosses.

There are a few other forms about your elegibility, past accidents, medications, drug use, crime record, if you are a nazi or communist, if you have an attraction to the recently deceased (not joking it was on there), and other general clerical stuff. Everything on this part of the form should be gone over with your recruiter before you initial Yes or No. Answer these questions truthfully, because if you lie on this form and they catch you, you will be guilty of fraudulent enlistment and dishonarably discharged and probably have to pay a fine and even go to jail (nobody actually goes to jail for that but still). If you are dishonorably discharged you are barred from joining any branch of the military, it is a serious offense. So if your recruiter tells you to lie about anything, DO NOT DO IT. The biggest thing people lie about on this is previous drug use, noteably marijuana. If you smoked before you can get a waiver for it as long as it wasn’t more than three times. Talk to your recruiter about it. Most recruiters are honest, but there are some that are just lazy as hell and don’t want to do the paperwork for waivers. Better safe than sorry, be honest on that form and make sure your recruiter does the work for you if you need any waivers. The paperwork took a long time, like 3 hours or so, but you will find out real quick how the military treats you. After the paperwork, my recruiter drove me down to the MEPS center, for Brooklyn it’s at the Fort Hamilton army base.

 Once you get in you go to the front desk, they ask you your name and social security number, and print you out a nametag. I went downstairs to take the ASVAB, lined up with a few other recruits and when a computer terminal was open they seated me for the test. They give you about 3 hours for the test, I finished in about 1 hour and went outside and watched a movie till they called me for a bus to the hotel. After waiting a few hours, the shuttle came and we filled out these little permission slips basically outlining the rules for the hotel, no drinking, no drugs, dinner times are up to 8:45, gym is open till 9:00, wear proper attire and stuff, and you had to be in your rooms by 10pm for curfew. Signed at the bottom and we went on the shuttle bus.

 We stayed at a marriot in staten island, pretty nice place. Food was pretty bleh but I was hungry so. They assigned roomates at the restaurant/mess hall, and after we ate we went back to our rooms. I went to my room and took a shower, my roommate went to the gym. By that time it was like 8:30 so I didn’t feel like going to the gym for 30 mins and just did some pushups in my room and watched tv for awhile. I couldn’t fall asleep until like 3 am and wakeup call was at 4:15am. =(
 Went downstairs for breakfast, they had eggs, bacon, sausage, cereal, bagels, the breakfast food was pretty good. I talked with some of the other recruits while eating. Talk of the table was ASVAB scores and what they were joining, you might be working with some of these people in the future so no harm in making friends right?

Check-in we lined up, went through a metal detector and then got seperated into our respective branches. I recieved a green folder with my ASVAB scores and medical forms then got sent downstairs to the navy waiting area. Down there I locked up my bag and went back upstairs for the medicals. A lady took my blood pressure, marked it on my med sheet and sent me to another room for the hearing test. They stick you in this soundproof box that looks like a disney ride, inside there are headsets and a buzzer, you just press the buzzer when you hear the noise, not too bad. After the test, another room where I had my picture taken and a guy asks me some questions, “Have you ever served in the armed forces”, “Are you a US citizen”, and some other quick questions I can’t remember. I also recieved a set of stickers for the rest of the medical. After that I went to a briefing room where a Lt. explained the rules in MEPS, and walked us through filling the medical forms out. Basically some of the same paperwork I did at the recruiting station, just answer truthfully to all the questions. You take a breathalyzer test after this part and get sent out to sit for the next part of the medical.

Now to get to the fun part. Waiting! You will be waiting a long time at MEPS, it is line after line. I went upstairs and waited for the eye exam, move down the line for 40 mins or so. There is the basic eye test read the last line on the wall, the depth perception test was nuts, you had to choose a raised bump from a group of 5 black circles. I failed the depth perception test, but as far as I know, it didn’t disqualify me from any jobs. Since I was going navy, I also had to take a color test to make sure I wasn’t colorblind. It looks like one of those spam verification thingys, read a number inside a bunch of colored dots. For the next part I wear contacts so I had to take them out. It was one of those machines at the eye doctors where you place your chin on the rest and they use the machine to find your corrective vision.

After the eye exam, I lined up to give blood to test for HIV or AIDS, they stick a little needle in your arm to fill up a vial. After that is the urine test, you just pee in a cup. That might seem simple, but the recruits before me looked like they had some trouble with it. Piss all over the floor and a bunch of guys lining up for the sink with their hands held up away from their body. =(
I’m proud to say I didn’t piss all over my hands, but it isn’t really as easy as it looks, I’m just pro.

 The next part, I went into a room where the guy told me to strip down to my boxers, take off my shoes and socks, and have a seat. So I waited in a room with a bunch of guys in their boxers. One thing I forgot to mention before is to wear underwear. I heard theres always one or two guys that show up without underwear. Lucky for me, everyone that day remembered to wear their boxers. We had to do a few exercises to test our joints and range of motion and all that. Jumping jacks, pushups, duck walk, squats, there were some hand and wrist exercises, doctors made sure all your fingers were working, etc. A guy took our heights and weight, and then did some tape measure things for the people with body fat percentage over the limit. After that, we sat back down till we got to see the physician. Keep in mind, these physicians aren’t here to chat. It is all business, answer all their questions politely and be concise, they don’t have time for BS. The doctors here will try to disqualify you for any reason, so make sure you answer everything on your medical forms truthfully. If you had chickenpox before you need to write that down. The doctor asked me some questions about my vision, asked me when I had chickenpox and I told him, he seemed satisfied with that, didn’t require documentation and that was about it. I don’t want to ruin the suprise but the doc also has to check your asshole for hemmoroids, check to see if you have both your testicles, turn your head and cough, all that fun stuff. Wasn’t as bad as it sounds and is the last part of the physical examinations.

Almost done! I went back downstairs and met with my recruiter. I still had to get a security interview and then see the job counselor. Security interview, simple process, just answer the questions you filled out before, they just need to check your background, and your parents. This interview decides your security clearance level, which affects some of the jobs you are able to get. After the interview, I talked to the job counselor about all the jobs I was qualified for. I chose a job there to get into DEP, they said I could change my rate any time before I am scheduled to ship out. Be careful with this, it is pretty common for them to do this, but watch out for the bait and switch. Read the contract carefully before you sign, and make sure you and your recruiter switch you to the rate you want before you ship out. The contract is a legally binding document, so if it’s not written there you aren’t getting it. That means if you don’t ship out with the job you want, you aren’t getting it. Make sure your enlistment bonus is correct and the obligated years of service are correct. After you get a copy of your contract, you are almost done with MEPS.

I went back upstairs where they took my fingerprints with a scanner and I gave a briefing about the oath ceremony. There is one more form to sign and you go into a velvet lined ceremony room with flags in the background and a podium like you might see on tv. Here you stand at attention and recite your oral oath to the United States government and the ranking officer signs off on it. Congratulations! You are now legally a part of the US military.

 That was my MEPS experience, long as hell and really boring. Hopefully, you got some insight on the process and can be more prepared for it. Or you could just not join the military at all, problem solved!




  1. Amber said,

    Wow, this was very helpful. I am so glad that I found it. I have been trying to get some insight about MEPS and what they do because I was kind of worried, you know…nervous. But thank you very much for that!

  2. turtleberry said,

    Glad to be of service and thanks for the feedback.

  3. Kasha said,

    Thanks for this. I really wanted to know what happens..going up to MEPS today- so thanks! Now I know what to look forward to.

  4. Allure said,

    Thanks man. I’ve been searching for some good navy experiences to read on. I’m considering joining the navy, but i also want the college experience. This has been real insightful. Thanks alotz.

  5. logain said,

    Great article here helped me out a lot made me a little less nervous thank you 🙂

  6. Shelby. said,

    This was very informative. I am going to MEPS thi Sunday and I was a little nervous but this gives me a heads up as to what to expect. Thank Alot for the insight,

  7. richard said,

    i just joined the navy like a week or two ago, and this was my exact MEPS experience

  8. deebz said,

    If you said you never been fingerprinted and you have wiil it show up and how would it hurt you

  9. turtleberry said,

    What you mean fingerprinted for fun or something? If you have been arrested why would you think it wouldnt show up? It will. =/

    My advice is to get it straightened out with your recruiter before you get really screwed.

  10. mike said,

    so about the drugs thing…. what if you just smoked in highschool? and that was it besides like speeding tickets and shit? i mean does it matter if you experiemented with it? and then havent done it in forever? all those weird questions that they ask….its like taking a huge test you had no time to study for ….you dont know what they want for an answer …lol

  11. Rondogg said,

    So what happens if you only have one testicle will you be disqualified

  12. Keith Bachand said,


    My name is Keith. I actually am in the hotel right now about to attempt to go to sleep. Everyone has been telling me how bad MEPS is, and how they are going to be yelling at us, and how we have to poop in a cup, and all of this horrid information. I searched on Google for some information about how things are going to go at MEPS tomorrow. I am in Nashville, TN. Your story has helped me ease a lot of stress, and anxiety about how things are going to go tomorrow. I didn’t do as good as I wanted on the ASVAB, but I passed which is all that matters in my opinion. I want to be a Boatswains mate and eventually get Coxswain. Anyways, I have a question about what you mean by “rank”. Are you referring rank to what job I pick? Because if so my recruiter told me that if I don’t get Boatswains mate right away, its easy to switch to Boatswains mate once I am already in the Navy. Anyways, thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experience!


  13. turtleberry said,

    “rank” is your paygrade
    “rate” is your job.

    If you are talking about your rate you should get it in writing on your contract before you ship out. You can switch rates, but it may take a few months or a few years depending on what you want to switch to. “Easy”, as your recruiter put it, might not be the case for you, so I highly suggest you try to get your rate (job) guaranteed in your contract.

  14. amarie said,

    Well what about the marijauna thing again? I smoked when I was like 13 and it was probably more than 3 times. I am 26 now. Do you think it will hurt my chances? I mean geez, I’ve given my life to God since then! Lol

  15. turtleberry said,

    Im not a recruiter so take this with a grain of salt, but if you come clean about the marijuana you can get a waiver. If you want to lie about it and you get caught, well you just lost your chance of joining all branches of the military, so it is up to you.

  16. Duane said,

    yea but how do you get caught if you haven’t smoked marijuana in years. how do they find out?

  17. sipsfods said,

    you won’t get caught. never, ever. that is, as long as you never were arrested or convicted for it, just keep your mouth shut and don’t bring it up. it is absolutely, positively, impossible for them to find out if you’ve been clean for so many years and never had any drug problems show up on your record. don’t tell anyone. The whole purpose of MEPS is to disqualify you, they are not your friends, and they will try to scare you into admitting things that will make it easier for them to DQ you.

  18. Michael said,

    what about the political questions? “nazi or commie”?
    I used to be a member of a socialist club in college. But that was years ago. Is it like the pot thing? Should I just not tell anyone?

    • turtleberry said,

      political affliations dont matter as long as you werent in any like anti-govt anarchist groups or violent gang or something. Again about the pot thing… it is up to you, I think the risk isnt worth it personally, I just dont like lying. But, if you never tell anyone, yea it is hard for them to find out. I still wouldnt recommend it but it is up to you.

  19. Daphney said,

    Thank you so much for all the infos. I’m really interested to join the navy. I’m getting ready to go to the MEPS process. I’m really scared cause i didn’t know what all this about. i went on google and i saw your article. i really appreciated what you did, you explained the steps very well and clear with additional advices.
    i will work my ass off, and i will do good because of you.

    thx again

  20. Christina said,

    Hi I’m going to be doing MEPS next week and I’m nervous about if they pull up past medical records. I fractured my arm when i was a little tiny thing still in daycare, so I dont think I have to mention that. But what is getting me is that i was put on adderall for stress reasons for only two months. It’s not in my system anymore I quit taking it volunteeringly in like April. Should I just not mention it?

    Just so nervous because I really want to do this and my recruiter is telling me not to mention it. Also I’ve been around pot in the past with friends but never tried it really. Would that affect me as well? It was over a year ago.

  21. Jowie said,

    Do you have to bring extra clothes?

  22. Allergy Treatment said,

    *;: that seems to be a great topic, i really love it -“”

  23. Chris said,

    When they are doing the actually checks you mentioned(ass, testicles) are you alone in the room?

  24. Tyler said,

    If you have already taken the ASVAB, do you have to retake it at MEPS?

  25. Zach said,

    I was wondering what was the green folder for? it says V.I.P. but i dont quite understand what’s the big deal.. the rest of us was red and one Filipina lady had a green folder…

  26. Aly said,

    Wow, I didn’t know it was that fast before you take the oath. This was helpful.

  27. brenden said,

    does anyone know if vision worse than 30/25 and 20/40 DQ you also i don’t have regular depth perception, cant catch or throw accurately because of this also it was difficult for me to start driving,

  28. Marcello said,

    going to meps today for the navy thanx for the insite

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